Sunday, May 31, 2009

THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING-a Review

This was my first Joshilyn Jackson novel, so I went into it with no preconceived notions of what to expect. Just as well, because, although I enjoyed it, and I liked the writing style, there was something just a tad flat about it. Perhaps it was that the story was too scattered. Perhaps the characters weren't as well-developed as they could have been, and I did not warm to any of them. Perhaps because the ghosts didn't have as large a part as I'd have liked (although the bit about the foot was really something). One thing, the first half dragged for me. Not sure exactly when it changed, but about halfway through it became unputdownable (my own word).

At any rate, the descriptions of the Southern way of life was wonderful, especially of the Stepford-like neighborhood where Laurel lived. I have to say, in that, I agree with Thalia that it was a creepy place. I also found the relationships intriguing. All three of the marriages ~ the mother's and her two daughters' ~ seemed to work well for each of them, yet each was trying to change the others' to conform with her own idea of what a "proper" marriage should be. (Timely, that, with the gay-marriage controversy raging hot in the U.S.) I also found the juxtaposition of material wealth with poverty, not so much in terms of economics as of the spirit, quite compelling. Though what the girl did was horrible, I felt for her, understood the terrible needs that drove her to it. I thought the mother and the girl were very much alike ~ in escaping from their origins, they were willing to do unspeakable things, and, in the end, neither really escaped.

All in all, I'm glad I read it and am looking forward to reading her other novels.

5 comments:

Kaye said...

I was riveted to this book. Towards the end, I too, could not put this book down. In fact, it was if I could not turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened. Definitely an author to watch. Your analysis of the book is truly awesome.

Brooke Reviews said...

I agree with the first half of your review. I had a really hard time with wanting to read any further, because the characters were flat and I just couldn't connect.

Mary K. from L.A. said...

Interesting how Kaye really liked it, Brooke didn't like it at all, and I am somewhere in the middle!

Linda Mai Ellen said...

Everyone has their own opinion and they're all valid. I have yet to read my copy. So many books and not enough time!

Mary K. from L.A. said...

I hear that! My physical TBR pile is ridiculously tall, and my virtual TBR pile is to the sky!

I'd love to know your thoughts about the book when you've read it.